The Katering Show was the comedy phenomenon of 2015, the YouTube series sending up cooking shows that quickly went viral all around the world. Now the series has been bought by the ABC, and is back for eight new episodes, released on iView today.
When she was asked last year about how she would feel about bringing the format to television, co-star and co-writer Kate McLennan told The Age:
There’s something really special about having this little concise seven-minute episode, and also, the freedom we have to say whatever we want, we’re not beholden to anyone
Quite. And the great news is that the new ABC-funded episodes have the same feel as the YouTube ones – like a show its creators really wanted to make, not something that’s been dicked-around-with by TV executives, worried about how it will play with key demographics, the government or the media. If anything, The Katering Show season 2 seems even more what it wants to be – acerbic, savage, weird, and really, really funny.
In one episode, beloved South Australian chef Maggie Beer cops a pasting from the pair, who dress up like her, present the show like her, and drizzle a Katering Show version of Beer’s ubiquitous verjuice over a Beer-inspired lamb dish. SPOILERS but things don’t exactly work out as they would had the actual Maggie Beer been running things, because Kate and Kate are two impoverished Gen-Xers living in inner-city Melbourne who can’t cook and don’t care. The fact that they’re presenting the show at all is presumably due to a desperate need for cash, or some kind of administrative error.
Speaking of which, one of the things that makes this show stand out above other cooking show parodies is that it isn’t just about taking the piss out of the cooking shows – they’d soon run of material if they did that – it’s about two women in their thirties on the edge of a breakdown. And yet the show’s so crammed full of great lines, well-timed slapstick, and background strangeness that you barely notice their descent into madness. It’s very much the Fawlty Towers approach to the mentally ill rather than the Please Like Me approach, with an emphasis on creating hyper-real-but-funny characters rather than going for realism.
But before you think we’re heading off down the “all this political correctness these days, you can’t even make a joke about the blacks/Asians/gays/women/mentally ill” path with the above paragraph, we’re not. We just point that worrying about realism when making a comedy is setting yourself on the path to Not Funny. You need to worry about getting laughs, in as many ways as you can. Something that The Katering Show does with the skill of a true master chef – layer upon carefully-applied layer of funny. We give it three Michelin stars.
It was good. Though the Maggie Beer parody probably only hit all it’s targets for people over 30. Personally I would’ve loved to see a parody of Rachel Khoo (and more to the point of her hipster-funky lifestyle) or one of those American cooking shows (where it’s more about trying to sell a personality than a cooking show).